Wednesday, September 15, 2004

WSOP Thoughts

I was sitting and thinking about the latest WSOP episodes aired on ESPN and about how certain pros were so visibly put off when other players would either call or raise their big bets.

We first saw when Men the Master left visibly upset at having his all-in bet with A,A get called by someone on a flush draw holding K,Q hearts.

Then we saw Annie Duke upset when someone with AQ called her all-in bluff when she herself only had KQ.

Twice we saw Josh Arieh wonder aloud at how someone could call his big raises with hands he considered to be substandard, Henry D's A,J and David Williams' 5,5.

What's going on?

Well, for one, new players are entering the game and they have a whole new outlook on how to play. Some of these veterans of NLHE are going to be forced to change up their game and add the possibility of being called to their decision analysis.

I believe that these veteran pros are making these bets so they can safely eliminate a subset of hands from their analysis. If their bets are called, they are then mistakenly eliminating certain hands their opponent could be holding which could cause them to lose the hand.

In the example of the 5,5 David Williams had, when a 5 flopped on the board, Arieh probably thought there was no way he could have been holding that hand and bet accordingly. Then when Williams showed 5,5, Arieh walked back to the rail wondering how someone could call his T500,000 bet with that.

Well, it appears that from now on, players are going to have to account for the fact that many people are willing to call down bigger bets with lesser quality hands. If the pros don't adjust to this, they are going to potentially lose a bit more often as some of these hands hit the flop.

Perhaps those of us who play online frequently are used to this behavior and have had time to adjust. Personally, I'm never surprised anymore when the 3rd suited card hits the board on the river and someone makes their flush holding 2,7 suited. In fact, I saw it last night beat K,K in a no-limit ring game. Is this bad play? Perhaps, but there are more and more players who are playing these hands so you better account for it somehow in your play.

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